Electronics+Navigations

Shakespeare ART-3

by Sail Staff, Posted November 10, 2006
That in-the-red VSWR, reading on the ART-3 tester confirmed my suspicion that while the old VHF antenna attached looks okay, it must be fried internally. VSWR stands for “voltage standing wave ratio,” but Shakespeare reasonably calls it “antenna efficiency.” The ART-3 can also test transmission wattage (only 17 with this particular antenna, but a full 25 with a decent one) and can generate a tone

Port Networks MWB

by Sail Staff, Posted September 9, 2006
Port Networks’s approach to maximized marine WiFi is to minimize coaxial loss by packing a high-powered radio and 5.5-dB antenna into a waterproof box for deployment on deck whenever you’re docked or moored. Both power and signal run through a no-loss 25-foot Ethernet cable. While the $349 MWB-200 will usually find the best available WiFi signal automatically, complete control software is

Olympus Stylus 720 SW

by Sail Staff, Posted September 9, 2006
This is one tough tiny camera. I dunked it into Boston Harbor, even photographed the muck, rinsed it under the tap, and it’s still snapping photos. Olympus’s Stylus 720 SW is shockproof, has a 3X zoom lens, and takes digital photos as large as 7.1 megapixels. Moreover, it offers 28 shooting modes, ranging from standards like “portrait” to more-esoteric operations like shooting “through glass.”

Pocket Navigator for Smartphones

by Sail Staff, Posted September 9, 2006
Pocket Navigator’s latest 5.0 release can run on “Smartphones”— cellphones using the Windows Mobile operating system. The test unit worked nicely with a Bluetooth wireless GPS, its 1-gigabyte memory card offered ample raster-chart storage, and the keypad-driven interface was good enough for backup plotting. But what’s really impressive is how the Pocket Navigator easily fetches and overlays NOAA

Marine Communications Special: 2006

by Sail Staff, Posted June 28, 2006
By Ben EllisonOn the one hand, I’m sorry to report that the U.S. Coast Guard has made little visible progress toward implementing Rescue 21, the new search-and-rescue communications system that will, eventually, unleash the potential of DSC-VHF radios. On the other hand (this comes as a real surprise), the reappearance of coastal marine VHF operators just may induce a lot of sailors to

Navigation Gear Special

by Sail Staff, Posted May 31, 2006
Cautious sailors understandably worry that the trend toward networked multifunction electronics could lead them to simultaneous multifunction failures. But the solution may be improved system architecture—as seen in Northstar’s new 8000i, diagrammed at right—not in running separate machines. Notice that the Northstar system is “masterless”—sounder, radar, cameras, and even the various sensor

Navigate in Style

by Sail Staff, Posted December 9, 2005
There’s more to navigating than gaping slack-jawed at a plotter screen. Keeping up the old skills just might save your bacon one day, and even if that day never comes, it’s fun to keep up a plot on a paper chart. This top-notch set of navigation instruments—parallel rules, dividers, compass—from Weems & Plath comes in a wooden case that’s ready for gift-wrapping. $99. Weems & Plath, 800-638-0428,

VHF Venture

by Sail Staff, Posted November 4, 2005
Navigation specialist Northstar has entered the radio market with this full-function, DSC-compliant VHF. The NS100 is a black-box unit with a remote speaker and handset. There are single ($599) or dual-station ($929) models, each with a full repertoire of U.S. and Canadian channels and an alphanumeric handset with a large display screen. Northstar; 800-628 4487;

LED Nav Lights

by Sail Staff, Posted November 4, 2005
Hella Marine’s NaviLED PRO navigation lights look tailor-made not only for trailersailers and smaller cruisers with limited battery capacity, but for offshore and bluewater boats that need to conserve energy. They come in 2- and 3-mile versions that meet all international requirements for navigation lights. They consume only one-tenth the power of their filament-bulbed equivalents and, like all

Weather Alerter

by Sail Staff, Posted November 4, 2005
The clever little AM/FM LINgo Weather Alert radio automatically scans the seven NOAA weather radio channels and broadcasts local weather information and alerts, even when it’s switched off. It will store all NOAA broadcasts too, as well as displaying warnings on its LCD screen. As if that’s not enough, the maker has built in some gadgets for you to fiddle with in between forecasts—there’s a
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